RTI Activist Attacked on the Way to Hearing at Collector’s Office
Romel Sutharia, an RTI (Right to Information) activist, was reportedly attacked by a group of unidentified men outside the Collector’s Office in Tapi District of Gujarat, for allegedly seeking information and opposing ‘illegal mining’ there, according to police sources. The incident took place on February 2, 2016, and a complaint under IPC (Indian Penal Code) Sections 143 (Unlawful Assembly) and 323 (Voluntarily Causing Hurt) has been filed against the mob, but the members are still unknown, because of which no arrests have been made yet.
Romel was assaulted by over a dozen persons, who also took away the file he was carrying, which contained documents that he had obtained via the RTI while on his way to the Collector’s Office for a hearing regarding his complaint to the Governor.
“On November 23 last year, I had written to the Governor on large-scale illegal mining of sand and stone over Tapi river and across the district. Collector called me for hearing yesterday when I was attacked,” Sutharia said on Feb 3rd.
The police have said that they are trying to figure out the identities of those involved in the attack, through CCTV footage.
“We have registered an FIR against unidentified persons and are investigating the matter. We will obtain footage of CCTV cameras installed in the District Collector building,” said Vyara Police Sub-Inspector, Kantibhai Motavar.
Romel Sutharia had sought information from the office of the Mines and Mineral Department of Tapi District Administration regarding the mining of sand and stone in the area.
If corruption has risen to the level where the people who are making efforts to control it are being attacked and bullied in this way, it will become incredibly tough to make our country a corruption-free one. Corruption in India has been stunting our growth and development as a nation, and these incidents only make the situation worse.